The Miura 1, the first reusable Spanish rocket, is ready to take off. The launch will take place in the next few days after assuring PLD Space, the company that built it, that it is waiting for optimal weather conditions. A week ago they assured that "despite having high winds within the flight safety margins, low clouds and rain have not allowed us to advance with guarantees." And they specified that the maneuver would not take place before this past election Sunday. In this way, it only remains for the weather to improve to give the green light to the operation.
Named after the renowned Spanish bull breed, the rocket measures 12.5 meters -far from the 120 of Elon Musk's Starship, the largest and most powerful in history- and is designed to lift payloads of 250 kilos to more than 150 kilometers high. On this first flight, it will carry 100 kilos of material from the German Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity to a maximum height of 153 kilometers. If successful, it would place Spain among the ten countries with the capacity to send small satellites into space.
The most critical moments of this initial mission will be the first 30 seconds, which is "when the rocket has to assume an 80-degree orientation to begin parabolic flight." Upon its return, the launcher will reach a speed of 2,700 kilometers per hour and will be slowed down with a parachute that will cushion its impact in the ocean. Afterwards, the vehicle will be recovered by ship. «To date, of the sixty rockets that have been developed in the world, only two companies have made them reusable: Space X -a company of Elon Musk-, and Blue Origin -of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon-. Our rocket was designed that way from the start. 60% of its components can be recovered from Miura 1”, highlights Ezequiel Sánchez, executive president of PLD Space, an Elche company founded in 2011 by Raúl Torres and Raúl Verdú, when they were both 23 years old.
To get to this point, the rocket has had to pass several tests. The most recent took place on Wednesday May 17, when it successfully passed a five-second 'hot test' (static ignition). Earlier, in September, several operational validation tests and three static ignitions of 5, 20 and 122 seconds were carried out. The latter, known as a flight mission test, simulates all the conditions of a real launch, only without actually flying.
Building the Miura 5
For now, the rocket will be powered by jet-A1 fuel, used by most commercial and military airlines around the world. Later it will use Kerolox, based on refined kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX), the same one used in the rocket engines of SpaceX's Falcon 9 family. As of 2025, the company intends to bet on the use of renewable fuels.
In parallel to Miura 1, the PLD Space engineers have been working these months on another project, that of an orbital vehicle called Miura 5. The idea is that what was learned with its predecessor is applied to it and that it can take off in 2024 from Kourou, in French Guiana. This second rocket will be 34.4 meters long and will allow about 540 kilograms to be placed in low Earth orbit. PLD Space has already achieved more than 60 million euros of investment to promote its project in the space sector and they hope to reach a turnover of up to 150 million euros per year.